The year is 2046. Detective Ross Sylibus is transferred to Mars when a country singer on her flight is murdered. Making matters more complicated is that the singer is a "Third"—a robot that looks and feels like a human. Sylibus is partnered with Armitage—a beautiful female cop with a bad attitude. As they investigate the murder of the singer and other women on Mars, they uncover a conspiracy that can have them both killed by the Martian government.
I will admit that I'm a fan of cyberpunk in its many forms, from novels by the likes of William Gibson and Iain Banks to movies like Blade Runner and Mad Max. As a child of the 80s, these were mainstays in my entertainment repertoire. By the time Armitage III was released in February 1995, I had already been exposed to titles such as Appleseed, Battle Angel Alita, Cyber City Oedo 808, Genocyber, AD Police Files, and those classics Akira and the Bubblegum series.
Now, given the time of it's release, much of the hype of that moment centred around the forthcoming Ghost in the Shell,
set to be released later that year. Because of this, Armitage III has been somewhat left by the wayside when it comes to mid 90s anime, especially given the huge marketing campaign devoted to GitS. This irony is that of the two major cyberpunk releases of 1995, Armitage III just pips GitS as being the best of that year.
The story is set in the year 2046 in the city of Saint Lowell, on the planet Mars. Earth has become overpopulated, and Mars has subsequently been terraformed to deal with this issue. Humanity was aided in the terraforming process by the first generation of androids, and by the time of the story the second generation of androids had become widely used for service and pleasure purposes. Unfortunately, Mars has been suffering from declining birthrates, and whilst the planet is autonmous from Earth, this fact is one of the main drivers for the story.
The plot is well thought out on the whole (barring a few inconsistencies), and the pacing is very good. There is a nice mixture of action and intrigue, as well as a dollop of political machinations (nowhere near as much as GitS though). The story does suffer from its flaws, however the premise is one that is just as plausible as GitS and, given the advances in medical science since 1995, may prove far more "real". The biggest irony is that both Armitage III and GitS ask the question "What is life?", but approach the answer from different angles.
The animation is very well done on the whole. AIC, who are also responsible for AD Police Files, Bubblegum Crisis and Now & Then, Here & There, have done a great job animating the show, however there are some moments when the animation loses its polish. The backgrounds are nicely drawn and are generally atmospheric, but they lack the detail that is one of the hallmarks of GitS.
One of my biggest problems with this series was the design of Naomi Armitage. The other characters were quite well done on the whole, however I initially had difficulty taking the show seriously given that her outfit seems more appropriate for a dominatrix than a police officer. It may be that the designers wanted to emphasise that Naomi is different from other humans by garbing her in very little, however they seem to have forgotten about the utility of clothing in their approach.
The sound is generally very good throught the OVA. The music is very much of the time, so lots of beats are prevalent in many of the actions scenes. The sound effects are well handled on the whole, however there are moments when the sound and music can clash quite badly.
As far as characters go, Ross Syllabus is very much a stereotype - an honorable and decent man who unfortunately hates robots and androids (although he has his reasons for this, and the series tries to explain them to a degree).
Naomi Armitage, on the other hand, is very much a tomboy. Brash, cocky, somewhat arrogant, and very often wilful, she seems to be just another normal, albeit unusually dressed, human being. It's not until the last two episodes that we begin to see more of her true character, however this is still not enough to ensure that the audience can relate to, or sympathise, with her.
Aside from these two, there are sundry other characters who play their part in the OVA, the chief one being René D'anclaude - a man who has been targetting and murdering specific women on MARS.
Although I had some difficulty at first, I thoroughly enjoyed this series and it's sequels. The balanced mixture of action and drama could have been improved, as could the characters, however that would have needed at least 12 episodes to achieve.
There's a definite appeal to the show because of its scripting and unusual (for anime that is), premise. As it's only a four part OVA, there isn't really any time for any real development ofthe characters or the plot, however this is purely a perceptional issue, and one that I can ignore in favour of being entertained.
With inspiration drawn from many sources, like I, Robot by Isaac Asimov and Neuromancer by William Gibson, this OVA is one of the reasons why GitS became so popular here in west. Even by todays standards the story holds up well, whilst much of the artworks bright and cheery palette belies the story's much darker plot.
Arimtage III is a truly great anime OVA. Sadly it came out about the same time as the original GHOST IN THE SHELL, and was overlooked for the overrated Ghost in the Shell movie. The story is far better, truly delving into whether machines are alive or not and could they be considered human, along with many other questions. Can they fall in love, or even have children. Then there are the two main characters, Naomi Armitage and Ross Sylibus. They add depth and bring life to the story. The action is great keeping you watching even in the
quiet times of the anime. The animation isn't as great as it was after all it's been 13 years since it first came out, but it still holds up today. I would highly recommend this anime over any of the Ghost in the Shell anime.
The story is focused on two cops, Ross and Armitage as they try to discover the reason behind all the chaos. At times I was under the impression that it is maybe too much influenced by Hollywood movies such as Blade Runner or AI but in the end, the story is well constructed and presented through the 4 OVA's. This is well explained with the use of the great animations. This came out in 1995 and it looks amazing for its time. The high amount of details is very impressive and you can see another anime that influenced The Matrix with the now famous green
data line flowing down the visor. The faces of the characters are a little sharp and maybe needed a little polishing but that's a minor detail. The sound was awesome. Industrial and some metal riffs fit any cyberpunk anime like a glove. As far as characters go, only Armitage is worth mentioning. Ross is ok to see as the tough (yet soft on the inside) cop but Armitage is the real star of the show. She's sexy, badass and an attitude that would even make Alucard shit his pants. You don't mess around with her.
In conclusion, Armitage III is awesome. Any SF/cyberpunk anime lover should see this. Great visuals, great OST and a memorable main character bring this anime a big well deserved 10.
Setting is probably 100years from now after we’ve colonized mars and are capable of creating advanced robots capable of being both useful and aesthetically pleasing to the eye as well. There exists hidden within the human population of mars a new generation of robot, one that has both emotions and another interesting ability. The animation is nice and detailed though not overly drawn and the sound is not the worst ever. There are 4 eps that I have found and if anyone wanted to they could probably be turned into a movie. Nothing special, has an interesting concept but over all I was just bored
In the early-mid 2000s, US licensing companies were involved in numerous anime Production Committees. It didn't go so well for them. This year, several US licensors are trying their luck on Production Committees again. Will it go better this time?